SW La oyster area closed after NC virus outbreak

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has closed an oyster growing area in lower Calcasieu Lake because oysters from that area may have caused illness in North Carolina.

Department spokesman Sean Smith says the norovirus outbreak was in late December, in the Raleigh area. The virus causes 24 to 48 hours of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and is very contagious.

Assistant Secretary M. Rony Francois and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the order closing "Area 29" on Thursday.

A news release says the department will evaluate the growing area over the next week and reopen it when the oysters are determined to be safe to eat.

DHH has notified local oyster harvesters who work the affected area, as well as the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.